Friday, June 27, 2008
Thursday, June 26, 2008
Once the storm died down, the sun started to make an appearance so we headed down to the water. JP and Jill came back and we enjoyed yet another day of R&R both in and beside the water.
I started a new book today that I've been wanting to read for forever called "Unchristian" and it's basically about what this generation of 16-29 year-olds think about Christianity. It's a sobering book based off a huge study that was conducted by The Barna Group. I only read chapter 1 of the book today, but here's the quote for the day:
"...if we do not deal with our part of the problem, we will fail to connect with a new generation. We are not responsible for outsiders' decisions, but we are accountable when our actions and attitudes - misrepresenting a holy, just, and loving God - have pushed outsiders away. Often Christianity's negative image reflects real problems, issues that Christians need to own and be accountable to change. My purpose in writing this book is to pry open the hearts and minds of Christians, to prepare us to deal with a future where people will be increasingly hostile and skeptical toward us. A new generation is waiting for us to respond."
Erica and I went on a little run and I actually cooked dinner tonight…yes, cooked. And it actually didn’t turn out to bad.
I mean, it was edible…that’s all I was hoping for. We hung out for a while after dinner then I went out on the deck to do some writing. Then one-by-one, Erica, JP, and Kate all came out on the deck and the stars were just calling our name…we couldn’t fight it. So at about 11:45, we decided to go down to the beach with the guitar. Wow. It was lightning in two different areas outside and there was this pocket of clear sky right above us where we could see the stars in all their majesty! And that pocket stayed clear almost the entire time we were out there. As Kate said, “It’s like God just decided to pull the curtains back for us for a while.” We worshipped by the water for a good hour then went for a walk down the beach…the moonlight was coming through perfectly and lighting up this area of the water. I should stop trying to describe it…suffice it to say, it was just amazing. I just can’t imagine what’s awaiting us one day…if that’s what we get to experience on earth. So we just got back and it’s 2AM…good night!
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
Today is JP and Jill’s anniversary so they took a little 24-hour getaway trip, which left Erica and Kate and me in charge of the kids! Today was even hotter than yesterday, so I definitely spent more time in the water.
While Kate and Erica did some kayaking, I got on the innertube with Maria (JP’s mom) and Riley. We started drifting a little far so we started paddling back. I wasn’t really paying attention to the water until I realized that I had just grabbed some sort of sea creature while paddling. When I looked, I saw that I had grabbed a jellyfish…which of course made Riley freak out a little bit, but all was well. The dolphins have been making an appearance every once in a while, so I caught a little footage of them today.
(DOLPHIN VIDEO SOON TO COME!)
After wearing ourselves out with our own laziness, we headed back to the house for the classic “babysitter dinner” – mac and cheese with ice cream for dessert! J I’m currently sitting out in the most amazing possible weather on our deck facing the Gulf with the sound of waves in the background…this is just a little piece of heaven right here. I can’t really remember what “normal” life is like…and I’m okay with that right now. I love seeing God in nature. Just looking at the enormity that is the ocean (wait, this is just the GULF!) makes you feel so small and just brings to mind the enormity of our God. When I see the awesomeness of God in nature, I sometimes get this “ache” deep down inside. I'm starting to think that it's like a form of homesickness because I'm catching a small glimpse of what I was truly created to experience. It's a realization that I was created for more than what I’m currently experiencing in this fallen world. And it reminds me of a C.S. Lewis quote (that I’m probably going to botch here) but it goes something like this: If this is the beauty bestowed upon fallen man, what more awaits those who believe in Him? (yeah, I definitely botched it, but you get the idea).
In more exciting news, I finished The Shack today! And I will now admit that it is a great book. The last two-thirds of the book were totally redeeming. I would recommend it to anyone, but especially to anyone who has experienced tragedy in their lives. My quote for today from The Shack comes from the After Words where this guy is talking about Mack, the main character...it just hits me right where I am!
“If you ever get a chance to hang out with Mack, you will soon learn that he’s hoping for a new revolution, one of love and kindness – a revolution that revolves around Jesus and what he did for us all and what he continues to do in anyone who has a hunger for reconciliation and a place to call home. This is not a revolution that will overthrow anything, or if it does, it will do so in ways we could never contrive in advance. Instead it will be the quiet daily powers of dying and serving and loving and laughing, of simple tenderness and unseen kindness, because if anything matters, then everything matters."
Small things with great love...preach it.
And today was another day full of reading/sleeping/making “dribble castles” on the beach...with a break in between for eating of course. Riley was wearing the cutest swimsuit ever today, so I spent much of my time snapping pics (which will soon be available for your viewing pleasure on Facebook…). I mean, look at this…
And we can't leave out Riley's amazing "Ocean" song and dance...
There were also a couple of sweet sandcastles made today (neither of them by myself, but cool nonetheless).
Then tonight we partook in some amazing seven-layer dip by Jill and all the females came to our house for some seven-layer dessert bars (ahem…made by myself…yes, I did something in the kitchen that involved ingredients and an oven) and a viewing of “27 Dresses”. By the time the movie was over, there were only a few remaining conscious people left. There’s just something about that sun that stinkin’ wears you out…I love it.
We woke up this morning to the sound of two shrieking children. Thankfully, I was on the top bunk which meant I avoided getting pounced on by said children. But Erica and Kate were blessed to receive both the shrieking and the pouncing. This taught us that if we were wanting to get much sleep, we were going to have to start going to bed earlier. Because when John Mark and Riley are ready for us to get up, we’re getting up.
The vast majority of today was spent either sitting on the beach and reading/relaxing…
or playing in the water...
The weather and the water were absolutely INCREDIBLE today. It was a little overcast, with an incredible breeze. I was also given the name “Fortress of Beachdom” today by one of JP’s sisters…so that’s pretty sweet – although I still really have no idea what it means…besides the fact that I’m tall and that I’m at the beach. haha
I think my mind/body/soul are finally starting to wind down and RELAX...which is amazing…and a little foreign, to be honest. I can’t believe I get to enjoy 5 more days of this! Oh and we can’t forget the amazing sunset that so fittingly closed out this amazing day.
So one of my main goals for the week is to finish each of the many books that I’ve begun over the past few months but never finished. First on the list: The Shack. I can’t figure out what I think about it…there’s some really good things in it but I’m not loving it as much as I wanted to. There are some really thought-provoking things in it, so I would still definitely recommend it. If you haven’t read it, it’s about a guy named Mack who, after experiencing a horrible tragedy, ends up spending a weekend in a shack with God/the Trinity. Anyway, I’m going to start inserting my favorite quote from my readings each day, so the quote for today, from “Papa” (the character of God) to Mack in The Shack:
“You don’t know that we [the Trinity] love you. The person who lives by their fears will not find freedom in my love. I am not talking about rational fears regarding legitimate dangers, but imagined fears, and especially the projection of those into the future. To the degree that those fears have a place in your life, you neither believe I am good nor know deep in your heart that I love you. You sing about it; you talk about it; but you don’t know it.”
Sunday, June 22, 2008
So I ended up being the only person in our whole group that had her own bed – which meant I got a good full 9 hours of sleep (minus the half hour that I lost due to the dumb hotel alarm clock going off at 5:30 in the AM…who set that?!?!) while everyone else apparently had quite the restless night. We hit the road again and Riley started getting into the beach spirit…
Lil’ Red got us the rest of the way to Ft. Morgan…that is of course, until we got to the beach house…
Saturday, June 21, 2008
So I’ve been looking forward to this trip for months now. I realized only a few days ago that I’ve never actually had a beach vacation! I’ve been to plenty of beaches, but have never had an entire week of nothing but the beach. When I went on vacations as a kid, we always went to the mountains...which is also amazing. But there’s just something about the sand and the sun and the water. There are few things more relaxing. Plus I can hardly think of a more FUN group of people to be going with! And thanks to my genius cousin, Ross, we decided to name our trip the “Robinson Crew, So?”…get it?...mwahaha
So Day 1: We packed 5 adults, 2 kids, and a ridiculous amount of food/luggage into a mini-van we’ve affectionately named “Lil’ Red” but were then cramped in the car for a FULL HOUR before we ever left Franklin! A combination of a blown fuse, full bladders, and a car that was continually bottoming out due to the weight in the back end caused for a few pit stops before we left town. (I’m not sure why we felt like it would be a good idea to put the three of us in the back…but that just didn’t last long…)
The car ride was nothing short of an adventure…we started out with a little “Zachary Hated Bumblebees”…